URLs du Jour


  • We begin this fine May day with a reminder from Freedom Unfiltered by Hayek.

    That's from 2014. Plus ça change…

  • Katherine Mangu-Ward's lead editorial from the June issue of Reason is a Bastiat shout-out: The Seen and the Unseen of COVID-19. Assuming you know the gist of Bastiat's fable:

    COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, and has since swept across the globe, is the ill wind that blows nobody good. The window is broken, the glazier cannot come to fix it, and neither the cobblers nor the bookbinders have worked in weeks.

    Human beings and markets thrive on certainty and predictability. Rule of law is preferable to rule by men for this reason. But while rule of law has not broken down in most affected countries—at least not yet—the rule of emergency order is far from desirable.

    As things stand, most people and businesses are uncertain about not only what conduct is safe if they are to protect themselves and others from sickness and death, but also what is legal as they try to protect themselves from financial ruin.

    As Katherine notes, the (literally) billions of things unseen—the results of actions freely taken by people on their own dimes— won't be recovered. We'll just have to…

  • … do as Dave Barry suggests in this (probably paywalled) WSJ piece: The American Way Is To Muddle Through. It's an imaginary commencement speech:

    I won’t sugar-coat this: You’re graduating in a depressing and scary time. So I will begin with some words from Abraham Lincoln, who in 1861, during another dark time in our history—a time when people desperately needed a reason to hope—said, quote: “Well, THIS sucks.”

    How true Lincoln’s words ring today, especially for you, the Class of 2020. In happier times, graduates ended the school year with festive commencement celebrations, then ventured out into a wide-open world—a world of hope, a world of opportunity, a world (it seems like a dream now) of abundant toilet paper.

    Things are very different for you, the Class of 2020. You had to finish your education with virtual classes; if you’re lucky, you will get a virtual commencement ceremony. (”Virtual” is Latin for “bad”). Instead of venturing out into the real world, you’re stuck at home, living a virtual life. Nobody is knocking on your door with job offers. Nobody is knocking on your door, except Uber Eats.

    Dave, Mrs. Salad doesn't even trust Uber Eats.

  • On the LFOD front, an LTE from one Jim Treadway in the Napa Valley (CA) Register:

    An open letter to those protesting in favor of opening up the economy prematurely:

    Dear Protestors,

    Just like on New Hampshire license plates, your motto appears to be “Live Free OR Die”. May I suggest a slight variation of this for you all: “Live Free AND Die?”

    Moan. An open letter to Jim Treadway (and anyone else who's thinking about mining this same "clever" vein):

    Dear Jim,

    First, please avoid the strawman fallacy. If there's anyone advocating "opening up the economy prematurely", I haven't seen them. Instead, there are a lot of folks who think existing restrictions are fear-driven, inflexible, and counterproductive. Rebut that, if you can, instead of the demons of your imagination.

    But the really important thing I want to say is: the "Live Free or Die" joke has been done to death. It's not as smart a retort as you think it is.

    With Love,

    Pun Salad

  • They even do the LFOD thing in Hawaii:

    More than 100 gathered at the state Capitol on Friday to protest emergency stay-at-home orders aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus.

    Three people were arrested for violating emergency orders, while five were cited.

    The protesters, some of whom weren’t wearing masks, say the orders go too far and are doing more harm than good. At the rally, they were chanting and waving signs that read, “Re-open Hawaii" and "Live free or die.”

    Well, it's a good thing they arrested three people for violating orders. It's not like Hawaii is part of America or anything.

  • And the Detroit Free Press tells us about the Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer bobblehead.

    No, this is not an insult directed at Gov. Whitmer. It's an actual doll.

    A SNL skit where Cecily Strong played the Guv is quoted, because I guess they had column inches to fill:

    Strong's Whitmer vented frustration at the recent protest in Lansing against her stay-home order: "Governors are kinda having a moment right now," she said, calling the protest "Ted Nugent cosplay" and noting, "it's live free or die, not live free and die."

    Cecily, please see my open letter to Jim Treadway, above.

    But that gives me an idea for my own SNL sketch. "Gretchen Whitmer: The Governor You Wish You Hadn't Started Paying Attention To on the News"

    In case you don't recognize the reference, and I don't blame you:

    "There are homeless people out there who can't even pay their mortgages." Yes, she was funny.

Last Modified 2020-05-04 12:37 PM EDT